Active listening is somewhat of an emotional intelligence art form, I think. To just listen to someone else and be fully present in the moment, can be quite difficult but rewarding at the same time.
We often listen, not to actively listen but simply to respond. In these circumstances, we've often not even fully processed what we've heard.
Sometimes silence is more powerful, as is the ability to let someone else talk until they're done. It's an art too. I've noticed how many people approach me to 'sound off' or get something off their chest, safe in the knowledge that I will simply listen and only offer an opinion (which will be non- judgemental anyway) if I am asked to do so.
Sharing similar experiences or sharing at all, can often make others feel at ease and not alone. We can and sometimes do, lose a little perspective as we're caught up in the moment and are unable to see the wood for the trees. But are we not fallible human beings with our shortcomings and foibles. These are what go directly to our make-up and engender our uniqueness.
Take the time to really, really listen and acknowledge how important that conversation is to you: repeat key words or phrases and offer your insight. Often you'll find the conversation reaching a natural conclusion by just listening.
You are listening to hear not to respond. Perhaps if you're able to hone your active listening skills, others may be likewise at a time when you need it most.
Try it, do it. Live it. The results are amazing and the fact you've been able to offer help to another will certainly do your self esteem no harm.
Happy active listening! I'd love to hear of any examples you Moodscopers out there might have where this has worked for you and afforded you a positive experience.